Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

Construction Skills Certification Scheme Client Study

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) is a certification card scheme used by over 3 million people in the UK construction industry. The card scheme was set up by the construction industry to raise levels of occupational certification and health and safety standards on building sites.


When CSCS decided to switch to a smartcard, they came to us for our unique and extensive experience of smartcard technology and our proven track record of delivering smartcard solutions that work.

For CSCS, the key attraction of the solution we recommended was it not only met the principal requirement of tackling fake cards but also had a number of other more visionary benefits.

Most importantly, due to the high specification of the smartcard selected, contractors were for the first time given the opportunity to store their own data on the CSCS cards, things like tracking tool box talks and site inductions; recording continual professional development; controlling access to construction sites through turnstiles; monitoring time and attendance; verifying occupational health restrictions and many more - thus reducing the proliferation of different cards carried by construction workers.

"Our partnership with Reference Point is extremely important in driving forward our objective of providing the construction industry with a means to certify that individuals working on construction sites have the required training and qualifications for the type of work they carry out."

Graham Wren, Chief Executive , CSCS

The first multi-use, multi-organisation scheme of this type

  • Over 3 million smartcards issued to date
  • 30,000 cards issued per month.
  • More than 25,000 card checking apps downloaded across four card reading platforms.
  • Over 20 third party systems providers reading CSCS Smartcards within their own applications.
"Reference Point are an ideal solutions partner. They are extremely professional, responsive and reliable and always deliver to a very high standard. Their customer service is outstanding and, importantly for us, we never have to worry about anything they are delivering - they just proactively get on with things to ensure there are never any problems."

Gordon Jenkins, Operations Director, CSCS

The Requirement

Replace the old style CSCS card with an electronically readable smartcard to tackle counterfeit cards that were being used to fraudulently get access to site.

Present ideas for how technology could be applied to facilitate a universal card for the industry.

The Solution

For CSCS, the welcome thing about the solution we provide as their chosen Technology Partner is it not only meets the principal requirement of tackling fake cards but also:

  • Enables cards to be updated without the need to issue a new card.
  • Card data can be captured to create an audit trail electronically when the card is read, rather than photocopying cards or writing down the details of when cards are checked.
  • Makes it easy for contractors to capture card data for import into their HR systems.
  • Cards can be used for secondary purposes, such as access control, to minimise the number of cards people have to carry.
  • Enables contractors to add their own data to cards to supplement the CSCS data on them.
  • Removes the need to ring the CSCS Helpline to verify a card’s authenticity, simplifying card authentication and reducing operating costs.
  • A cardholder’s identity can be securely verified using an online card reader even if the printing on their card is badly worn, as is often the case where people are working in a harsh outdoor environment.

The Outcome

The CSCS Smartcard is the first multi-use, multi-organisation card scheme of its type, with over 3 million smartcards issued to date. Following its lead, since its launch eight other skill card schemes have followed suit, adopting the same technology and sharing the same card checking ecosystem.

CSCS Partner Card Schemes

CSCS work closely with a number of Partner Card Schemes, which display the CSCS logo. The Partner Card Schemes represent the very specialist sectors in construction, such as plant, demolition and scaffolding. The schemes are based on the same standards as CSCS, requiring cardholders to have a recognised qualification and to have passed a Health and Safety test.

Schemes using physical and virtual smartcards:

GEA logo

Schemes only using physical smartcards:

Schemes only using virtual smartcards:

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